March 31, 2005 GMT
Philippines (Nov. 2005) - Initial Planning

March 2005 - Initial Planning

Early in 2005, a couple of friends and I decided on try our hand at touring the Philippines by motorcycle. Internet searches found this tour to be a rare choice, although there is at least one HU member who has succeeded.

Our first step was to look at a map and decide where we want to go and how long we should take. Flights between Australia and the Philippines mainly pass through Manila. This dictated that we would have to enter and leave the Philippines via Manila.

We decided on a clockwise tour around the country. Starting with a trip round Luzon, we would then travel down the eastern islands, across the northern part of Mindanao and then back to Manila via the western islands. A total distance of about 3,500km with 6 ferry (RoRo) trips. Four weeks should be sufficient.


Philippines Tour Map

Studying the prevailing weather conditions, we decided that November would be a good time to tour. Not too hot or wet and just before the full-on tourist season.

Their government does not encourage temporarily importing motorcycles into the Philippines.

  • Carnet de Passage is not recognised.

  • A "refundable" bond of 150% - 200% of Customs' estimated value of your bike must normally be paid.

  • Once your bike arrives, you may need to remain at the port for 1 - 2 weeks to process the paperwork.

  • You can only export your bike through the same port that you entered the country. (Not a problem for us.)

  • When exporting your bike, it may take you 2 - 3 weeks to have the paperwork processed and, if youíre lucky, get your bond back.

With only limited travel time available, this is all too much trouble for us.

Next option considered was renting a bike in the Philippines. Although you can get almost anything you want in the Philippines, we found that you cannot rent a motorcycle for touring the country.

How about buying and selling a bike through a Philippines dealer? This is occasionally available with new bikes. With commissions and the dealer's estimated buyback price, this was going to cost us 40% to 70% of the initial purchase price. Again, not a viable option.

OK, how about having second-hand bikes pre-purchased for us in Manila and then having them sold for us there after we leave? The problem with this was to find an honest agent to organise the buying and selling.

Fortunately, I have some Filipino friends living in Manila. They are not motorcycle savvy but, through them, I was able to get in touch with Martin (Herc) Gino, a well-known motorcycle enthusiast in Manila. Herc loves his motorcycles and loves working on them. I had Herc checked out and found he has a reputation for honesty and reliability (not common attributes with some Filipinos).

I have previously spent some time riding motorcycles in the Philippines. These were only short trips; round Manila, the length of Cebu Island, and the southern part of Mindoro. This allowed some insight into what type of motorcycles we would require. Riding conditions in the Philippines are such that-

Your maximum speed will rarely exceed 80kph with most travel at between 20kph and 50kph; roads are generally in poor condition with many potholes and rough unsealed sections; for pollution reasons, some towns and cities are starting to restrict access to 2-stroke motorcycles; and traffic conditions are similar to many other Asian countries (i.e. chaotic).

Might-is-right, so motorcycles are at the bottom of the food (traffic) chain.

Taking these conditions into consideration, we set our bike parameters to; 4-stroke, about 250cc, duel purpose type with good luggage carrying capacity. Good second-hand bikes of this type can be purchased in Manila for about P60,000 to P100,000 (about USD1,250 to USD1,800 in 2005) If prudently purchased and looked after, we should be able to sell the bikes at the end of the trip for close on the purchase price.

With Hercís help, our next stage is to find and purchase the bikes. Once purchased, Herc has offered to look after any modifications or servicing that may be required before our arrival.

Posted by rbscairns at 06:37 AM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!